I’ve driven past the old, white farmhouse a hundred times. It sits facing a highway now. All day and long into the night, cars and trucks race past it on their way to somewhere else. I look at and love the old place almost every time I pass. I’m saddened by its emptiness and grieve a little that its time for living seems to have come and gone.
I’m curious about the laughter which must still live as a memory within its walls. I imagine a warm kitchen and the smells which float, like ghosts, up the main staircase toward the bedrooms upstairs. I see me, standing there on the porch, shucking corn and watching the sun set over the fields out back.
This beautiful farmhouse is beginning to show her age. Her white paint weathered gray by time and inattention, the farmhouse stands simple and honest. It’s me who personifies her loneliness. It’s me who longs for a happy family growing strong and loving within her walls. It’s me who wants her to live again. It’s me who’s wanted – for years – to stop by for a neighborly hello and a visit.
Yesterday, I did.
I couldn’t get around front to back because of all the snow. The side of the farmhouse though was humble and sweet and I’m so sentimental about it. All of it. Not bothered that I couldn’t go inside, it was enough for me to be standing so near.
She is strong and sturdy. Resolute and patient. Farmers still work her fields, renting the land from year to year from a conservation trust. Seasonal hunters walk the woods at the pasture’s edge hoping for a pheasant, or turkey, or deer. The sun still rises and sets in her windows every day. This old beauty is not ready to fade away just yet. There’s always hope.
While visiting yesterday, I met an elderly couple who showed up for some cross-country skiing across the snow-covered fields. I learned from our conversation that the nephew of the original farmer intends to live in the old house again. Her tender roof will soon be replaced. I’m sure her plumbing will be updated and I bet her sagging side porch will be lifted.
My heart was lifted, too.
We’re all busy. We drive life’s highway rushing from one important place or task to the next. And I’m learning it’s important for me to stop once in awhile. It’s important for me to stop – and see – up close what my life’s been passing each and every day. A wondering. A wish. A thought saved for one day soon or someday when.
Yesterday’s stopping filled my heart in a way passing by never, ever will. There’s hope in the stopping. There’s grace too, and a deeper connection to the inside of me.
Someday soon, I hope you stop too.